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I woke up this morning to radio reports of freak weather and winds of up to 120 mph battering France, and my thoughts immediately turned to Fred Olsen’s Balmoral, which I reported earlier this week had been bouncing around in the Bay of Biscay.
It looks like there has been no respite for the passengers who have been suffering at the hands of the elements. I spent two days in winds of up to storm force 10 in the Bay, on board Olsen’s Black Watch a few years ago, so I know what they have been going through.
Standing in the Observatory Bar, glass of Guinness in hand, watching the bow dig into the huge waves, was a memorable experience, and I have to admit that it was more comfortable lying in bed in the cabin, listening to the howling wind and the creaking structure, as the fruit bowl crashed to the floor, and the bathroom shelves emptied themselves.
Some pictures emerged during the week of Balmoral’s departure from La Coruna, in north-west Spain, and I have to admit they looked so dramatic, my first impression was that they had been faked.
But no, they are genuine, so see for yourselves the heavy seas that the ship has been facing. My thanks to Jose Montero and shipspotting.com.
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Dramatic as they are, looking at the full-sized versions, I can see passengers braving the outside decks.
As you can see from the column on the right, I have received a couple of messages about the cruise. The first was from a passenger on board who was travelling with one of those taken to hospital in La Coruna. It turns out she was not injured on board, but had unfortunately tripped and fallen just before boarding in Dover.
Another message comes from Olive Howard, whose sister and husband are on Balmoral for their first-ever cruise. Looks like it’s going to be their last.
Let’s hope that things are a little calmer in Cherbourg today.